RESUSCITATOR: Aussie Olympian appointed MAF technical director
ROBERT Ballard is the man the Sports Ministry has tapped to help resuscitate Malaysian athletics which hit rock-bottom at the Sea Games last year.
Ballard, 49, who ran in the 4x400m for Australia at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, will spend the next two years charting the course of the sport as the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) technical director.
His first task is to present a plan in one month on the way forward for Malaysian athletics leading to a rebirth of the sport at the 2017 Sea Games which Malaysia will host.
“He will be responsible to plan a path towards success for the national athletes at the Sea Games, Asian Games and Olympics,” said Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in introducing Ballard to the media in Putrajaya yesterday.
“Ballard’s appointment is timely following the sport’s decline over the last five to 10 years.
“He will assist in restoring Malaysia’s reputation in Southeast Asia for a start.
“I am certain that with his wide experience in consulting on high-performance and elite athletics programmes, we can resuscitate the sport.
“In one month, he will present a plan to the joint-working committee on how to achieve the standard of excellence in athletics.”
Ballard is seconded to MAF by the National Sports Council on a two-year contract, with an option for another two years, for US$84,000 (RM280,000) annually.